Holy Communion

This Sunday, 20th September, we will share Holy Communion together for the first time in over six months! This is something that I am very much looking forward to, as it is certainly something I’ve greatly missed over these past months. However, I know that we might all feel a little hesitant, given what is going on in our world right now, so I wanted to make you all aware of the steps we will take to make receiving Holy Communion as safe as possible for everyone:

I will be completely responsible for the bread, which will be gluten free. I will buy it on Saturday and prepare it myself at home, after sanitising all surfaces I’m using. I will wear gloves and a mask to cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, then cover it with cling film. At church, after completing a slightly shorter communion liturgy than normal, I will then put on a mask, sanitise my hands again, then remove the cling film on the bread. I will distribute the bread to each person at their seat, being very careful not to physically touch anyone while distributing (I will do a very short ‘drop’ into people’s open hands, which should be cupped together, if possible, to ‘catch’ the bread). I will be the only person to handle this aspect of the elements.

One of the Communion Stewards will prepare and distribute the wine, again wearing gloves and a mask. There will be glass cups instead of plastic, as glass is more easily sanitised. Each person will take their own cup from the tray. To make sure no-one touches the cup of another person, there will be a gap left between cups. At the end of Communion, you will place the glasses on the floor by your seats, and they will be collected at the end of the service after the sanctuary has cleared.

I hope that this is clear, and I will describe these steps again on Sunday morning to make sure we all know what is happening. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch with me this week. I know that this is a very different way of sharing together in Holy Communion. It may feel strange and a bit clumsy, but I hope that we will all still find great joy in being able to share in it, in some way, together again. I pray that we will all be spiritually nourished by this, although in a different form. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday for Holy Communion!


In my first communication about Holy Communion, I did not mention people who were worshiping with us from home via Zoom. This was because I was unsure of how this would work, as the Methodist Church essentially has a policy against ‘virtual’ Communion because of our theology around Holy Communion.

However, having spoken to Gordon about it, we agreed that people at home may bring their own bread and ‘wine’ to ‘the table’ and share with us in Holy Communion as we are, in fact, one bread, one body, and those at home will be participating in the service and hearing the words of consecration live. So, if you will be joining us via Zoom on Sunday, please feel free to celebrate Holy Communion with us in your homes with your own bread and wine.

Blessings,
Rev. Rachel

Great News!

Back to Worship in Church: we can now meet in Church as a group for services. 

However, this will be different to what we have been used to and a number of safety measures have been put in place. Please do read this carefully and follow the guidelines/instructions that have been put in place to keep everyone safe from Covid-19. 

One difference will be the number allowed to attend any one service, a maximum of 30 including the Minister/Lay preacher, Musicians and Stewards. To ensure we keep to this number there is a “booking system”. Please contact Debbie Cairns seatbooking@chepstowmethodist.org.uk at least two days before a service to indicate that you and, if appropriate, members of your family will be attending giving names and a contact phone number.

However, if you cannot be at a service you will still be able to be see the service via a Zoom link. Services will be available as podcasts later on a Sunday, on the the Church website in the usual way.

Easter Sunday

At last the Sabbath was over.

Usually a day full of happy remembrances and gratefulness for all that YHWH had done for us in the past.  A time to be with family and celebrate together,

Not this week.

This Sabbath was full of grief, disappointment and confusion.

The man we had followed, loved and recognised as our promised Saviour

WAS DEAD

A horrible, painful, shameful death.

Strange and frightening things had happened as he died, thunder, darkness, voices. Rumours that the curtain in the Temple had been torn from top to bottom, tombs had opened and the dead were seen walking about.

All we knew was the pain of losing a loved one.

As soon as the Sabbath was over we went to purchase oil and spices to anoint and prepare the body for burial.

After a sleepless night we took the oil and spices and set off to the place where Jesus’s body had been placed.  The sun was rising; the darkness was leaving the sky to welcome another beautiful day.  We could not appreciate it; we were full of grief and questions. 

Were we strong enough to move the stone from the mouth of the cave?  We had heard that soldiers were guarding the cave, would they help us or turn us away?

All we wanted was to perform the final act of love to the body of the man who had meant everything to us.

Imagine our amazement as we reached the cave.

The stone had been rolled away, the guards were asleep, the cave was empty, and the grave clothes were folded.

A bright light shone in the cave.

It dazzled us.

A voice spoke,

“Jesus the Nazarene has risen from the dead, He is not here”

Was it an angel?

One of our group, Mary Magdalene, saw a man that she thought was a gardener, she asked him if he had been the person who had moved the body and if so, could he tell her where it had been taken to?

He looked at her, His eyes full of compassion and love and called her by her name, Mary.

It was Jesus, our Lord.

We were told to go to the Disciples and tell them what we had seen and wait with them until He came to them.

Confusion fled. Joy returned.   We remembered all that Jesus had told us and at last we understood His words.

Jesus had defeated death and was alive.  Everything he had said had been fulfilled and was true.

Amen.

By Joy Wilson.

The Lord is my Shepherd

I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul …

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 (ESV)

Palm Sunday

As the day of the Great Festival drew near, it was all hustle and bustle.  Preparations to be made for friends and family to join us at the Festival.

Food to be planned, accommodation to arrange

and a whole host of other things to do.

I was busy from dawn to dusk!

Then I heard a rumour that Jesus, the teacher, who was supposed to have raised the dead, healed the sick, made blind people see and even walked on water was coming to Jerusalem with His disciples.

It was only a rumour, but I would love to see the man who had made friends with Tax collectors and prostitutes and upset the authorities!

 Perhaps he would do something spectacular?

The crowds are getting bigger

The rumours are flying around

‘He is coming’

‘No, he is not’

‘Yes, he is’

Then, one day I saw a man riding on a donkey, surrounded by a group of shabby looking men.  He did not look like a miracle worker or king, but there was something about him that drew my attention.

I do not know what it was.

He had kind eyes, the sort that smiled at you as if he knew you and cared about you.

Then

Something extraordinary happened.

People began to break branches from the trees and wave them; others laid their cloaks onto the ground for him to ride over, just as if he was a king or a hero returning from a war.

Then

A shout went up.

Alleluia

Hosanna

Welcome to the King of the Jews

The Priests and Romans will not like this.  I do hope that they will not send soldiers to break up the crowds and destroy the happy atmosphere.

I joined in the shouting and cheering.  I could not help myself.

Slowly the procession passed by and the sounds died away into the distance.  I was thrilled, confused, troubled, had many questions and did not know what to make of what had happened.

Ah well, no time to brood, back to the preparations.

But

I will never forget his eyes and the effect they had had on me.

by Joy Wilson.

Praise and Worship

We were so blessed with a wonderful hour of prayer, scripture and meaningful worship songs, led by Cliff and Bob.

That amazing song ‘To the river I am going’ by Brian Doerksen, says it all, Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet you there.’

Dynamic Prayer

Join us for an hour of songs, focused prayer and readings, similar to the Blue Service at Christmas, which will challenge us in our prayers for the year. This event is on Thursday 30th Jan at 7pm and will be led by Bob Kouba and Cliff Randall.

No longer my own …

The covenant service, often celebrated on the first Sunday of the year, is at the heart of Methodists’ devotion and discipleship, and their dedication in working for social justice. In the service the Church joyfully celebrates God’s gracious offer to Israel that “I will be their God and they shall be my people”.

All are welcome to share in a Covenant Service. You are welcome, whether you are sharing in a Covenant Service for the first time, have done it annually for many years, or simply want to watch what others do without taking part yourself.

The service is a gift not a demand! And God will give you the grace to do it all. You are not alone!

The Methodist Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’

Be Blessed

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

These words of Jesus offer comfort when life weighs us down. Come to him, as you are, with your doubts and your fears and know that you are wrapped in God’s love.